The new year is almost upon us, and with it is time to wrap up the things that have been done in the past year, as well as make plans for the next. When it comes to the SEO industry, this means that we should look back on the changes (both major and minor) that happened during this year and try and predict what might come to pass in 2017.
Analyzing Google’s updates and moves during this year, it might just be possible to single out some techniques that will surely have a lot of impact on rankings during the next year.
Switching to AMPs
Speaking at a conference earlier this year, Gary Illyes has announced that 80% of the web has gone mobile. Also, being that the number of users who access the Internet from a mobile device has surpassed desktop users back in 2014, we can safely assume that the mobile web and responsiveness will be major players in the next year’s optimization game.
Google has initiated the Accelerated Mobile Pages project which promises to speed things up for users when it comes to loading times for mobile web pages. The project sets a standard for mobile web pages which is guaranteed to load super-fast on all mobile devices. By using this standard, you can turn your website into a mobile-friendly version without much effort. Of course, this also means that the rankings will be influenced by the loading times of mobile pages for your website, so it is highly advisable to go for it.
Voice Search has been a somewhat controversial topic in SEO circles during the passing year, mostly because no one could see the signs for it anywhere. However, being that Google’s main competitor, Bing has already turned their strategy this way, and with Voice Search being a somewhat standard option on smartphones today (and mobile is the future of the web, read above), it is highly evident that Voice Search is going to play a role next year.
Just how important that role will be remains to be seen as time passes and Google implements it, but it will definitely hold some influence.
Linking was one of the first ways in which SEO was conducted. And it still is the most important factor, according to Google. This has led to an expansion of poor quality links, link farms and similar websites. Links on these websites have started having no value whatsoever. Of course, Google has gone above the sheer number of links pointing towards your website and their algorithms are now oriented towards looking at the broader context, like the relevancy of the link within the text, the relevancy of the text for the whole website it’s on, and similar things. This is nothing new, but the indications are strong that this trend will continue.
One of the final highlights of this year has been the introduction of artificial intelligence into the ranking system. This emphasizes the need for creating well-structured information on your website that can be not only accessible to a machine, but also recognizable and easy-to-understand (again, for a machine).
Schema markups help with this, because, essentially, that is what they are – a collection of well-structured information about the website. With schema markups, you will make Google’s job easier, as it will not have to filter out unnecessary information about your website. Also, it will allow it to pop-up in Quick Answers and have well-organized snippets, which are also valuable for user experience, so it helps in more ways than one.
As the year draws to a close, we are working towards noticing trends in major SEO companies. We track them and what they do and these are just some of the conclusions we have found. You can look at a comparison of SEO companies, and see what people have to say about them.
The situation in SEO is changing constantly, as changes are implemented on a monthly basis, some small some major. Keeping track of what changed and making good predictions can be the difference between success and failure for an SEO company, so keep updated and keep working.